Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (PNA file photo)

TAGBILARAN CITY – Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has challenged cooperatives in Bohol province to engage into the healthcare business to fill the gap in hospital and medical industry as the country starts to implement the Universal Health Care Law (UHCL). 
 
During the consultative meeting with cooperatives and farmer leaders in Bohol on Saturday, Roque said the UHCL provides for three dialysis sessions a week for free.
 
Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) administrator and chairman of the board Benjie Oliva attended the meeting.
 
Roque said there are not enough dialysis machines available in many parts of the country, adding it provides a “golden opportunity” for cooperatives as the government has assured a ready source of revenues as provided for under the UHCL.
 
“Three dialysis sessions per week for persons with renal failure is 12 dialysis sessions per month and by 12 months, this is an assured 144 sessions paid for by the government to Filipinos as provided by law,” he said.
 
Roque urged the cooperative members and farmer leaders representing various people’s organizations present to unite not only in setting up dialysis centers or facilities, but also to come up with cooperative hospitals.
 
“We can unite and put up hospitals with private paying wards, there is (an) accredited facility that offers one percent interest,” he added.
 
The World Health Organization (WHO), which came up with a hospital bed to population ratio, showed that the Philippines is still in need of 52,000 beds, he said. 
 
The implementation of the Mandanas ruling of the Supreme Court by next year, Roque said, will open up more opportunities for cooperative groups to get a share of the 37 percent more Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of local government units.
 
“Cooperatives need to benefit from this,” he added.
 
He also cited the possibility of cooperatives venturing into ocean-going fishing vessels and moving away from the overfished marginal fishery areas to the rich fishing grounds in the Pacific and the disputed islands.
 
“Now more than ever, we need to cooperate and use our savings as a capital for more investments,” Roque said. (PNA)